The Grand National entries for 2022 were released on Tuesday and naturally punters begin in earnest to go through the list of names with a fine-tooth comb, looking for their early ante-post fancies.
Venetia Williams trained Mon Mome to win the 2009 renewal of the Grand National and I seriously believe she has the ammunition this season to land it again some 13 years later.
Let’s take a look through Williams’ quartet of potential runners:
Achille (current odds 66/1)
Achille was entered for last year’s Grand National but failed to make the cut. That could well be the case again this season, leaving Venetia Williams requiring a series of snookers, defections and favourable treatment from the handicapper for her twelve-year-old to get a run.
Owned by Vida Bingham, who of course also owned Mon Mome, Achille has actually run some creditable races in defeat thus far this season.
Fifth to Snow Leopardess in the Becher Chase, he then finished fourth out of the only five horses to complete in an attritional running of the Welsh Grand National.
His run in Warwick’s Classic Chase was somewhat underwhelming and he will have to bounce back from that.
Commodore (current odds 50/1)
I’m of the view that the ten-year-old Commodore holds the best chance of the four Williams entries and that he is the best jumper of the quartet.
Commodore was extremely impressive when winning at Cheltenham in December after a layoff and a wind operation, and he looks altogether a better horse physically than when I lost saw him at Haydock in November 2020.
Marathon trips appear to be right up this French-bred’s street. He was on my own personal radar has having a live chance in Doncaster’s Great Yorkshire Chase, but he didn’t run in it and his most likely target now is the Grand National Trial at Haydock on February 19th for which he is an 8/1 shot.
If he performs well at Haydock then expect that 50/1 quote for the Grand National to go up in a puff of smoke.
Cloudy Glen (current odds 40/1)
Cloudy Glen is guaranteed to make the top 40 handicap berths courtesy of his Ladbrokes Trophy Chase victory at Newbury in November and he looks a little plump in betting considering what he is capable of doing on his day.
His second in last year’s Kim Muir is no muggy form either with his victor that day – Mount Ida, is very much a talking horse at present with the shrewd form pundits.
Owned by the Exors of the late Trevor Hemmings, there would almost be a fait accompli to the whole National Hunt season if the Hemmings colours, Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch all combined to land what was Trevor’s favourite race in the very same season that he passed away.
These things just seem to have a way of happening, don’t they? Divine inspiration – who knows?
Didero Vallis (current price 100/1)
Williams’ nine-year-old really needs to catch the attention the handicapper soon and he may just do that with a bold showing in the Dick Hunt Handicap Chase at Wincanton on Thursday 3rd February.
Didero Vallis has shown his liking for the unique Grand National fences already with some decent performances in both the Grand Sefton and Becher Chases and stepping up to four miles may just be the making of him.
Should he sneak into the National at the bottom of the handicap, he’s no 100/1 shot.
Suggested bet 1pt E/W Commodore at 50/1 antepost.
Words by Steve Mullington